by Kung Fu Zu 11/30/16
After returning to America, my family and I were for years devoted viewers of the game show, “Wheel of Fortune.” Almost every week day evening at 5:00 you would find us sitting in front of our TV listening to Pat Sejak ad lib and watch Vanna White touch blank rectangles, which magically turned into letters of the alphabet.
As anyone who has seen the program will know, the show concludes with the so-called “Bonus Round.” This is where the person who has won the most money in the previous rounds has the chance to win further money or prizes by solving a final puzzle. The contestant is shown a puzzle which is mostly blanks and he or she then may choose three consonants and one vowel in the attempt to fill in the blanks. Once this is done, the contestant is given ten seconds to come up with the correct answer. Win or lose, the solved puzzle is revealed to the viewing audience in the theater and at home.
At a point in time before we started watching the program, someone at Wheel of Fortune had the bright idea of using the Bonus Round puzzle as a way to promote faithful viewership. All one had to do to win $5,000.00 was note the Bonus Round puzzle of the day and hope the people at Wheel of Fortune would call you and ask you to repeat it. To get on the call list, one simply had to go on line and register at the official Wheel of Fortune webpage. Nothing could be simpler. I am skeptical of such things, but my wife, whose philosophy is “What do I have to lose?” went ahead and registered online accordingly.
Of course, the years went by as we faithfully watched Pat and Vanna gracefully age, but the telephone did not ring.
One summer, a business friend from Singapore visited us for a couple of weeks and disturbed our schedule somewhat. Even so, either my wife or I would make sure one of us watched the show.
The day before my friend was to return to Singapore, he and I got into a serious discussion about some potential business. Our discussion had been going on for some time when the telephone rang. I recalled that my wife was out so I went to the kitchen and picked up the receiver.
“Hello”, I said.
The voice at the other end asked, “Could I speak to Mrs. Kung?”
I replied, “She’s out, can I help you?”
The voice then said, “This is so and so calling for Wheel of Fortune,…if you can tell me tonight’s Bonus Round puzzle you will win $5,000.00.”
At first I was stunned, then I was really, really pissed off. Hugely disappointed, I had to admit that I had no idea.
The disembodied voice on the line replied, “I’m sorry that you didn’t have the answer, but want to thank you for being a regular viewer of Wheel of Fortune. Good Bye.”
I hung up. And the only thing which I could say was, “Damn, damn, damn.” Literally, the one day neither my wife nor I had tuned into to “Wheel of Fortune” they decided to call us. Did they have some camera on my TV or something?
I went back and explained the situation to my friend. All he could do was give me a sympathetic/apologetic smile.
I am not someone who has ever won the lottery. Hell, the most I can recall winning is a salami at some bingo night in Switzerland almost forty years ago. Therefore, I am sure the reader can imagine my irritation at missing this chance to win $5,000.00!!!
And the worst part is that nothing ever came out of those business discussions.
Kung Fu Zu is a conservative prognosticator who has traveled widely and lived outside the United States. He will sometimes buy a vowel when he needs it. • (818 views)